Various passages of the Bible set forth the complete elimination of human habitation in a land as the epitome of God’s judgment. I have long found it remarkable that much of the environmental movement sees as ideal what Scripture depicts as hideous. One place that does so is Isaiah 34, in which God through the Prophet Isaiah foretells, in sometimes apocalyptic poetic language, His judgment on Edom and the other pagan nations that oppressed Israel and Judah:
1“Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
2For Jahweh is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction,
has given them over for slaughter.
3Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
4All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.
5For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
6Jahweh has a sword;
it is sated with blood;
it is gorged with fat,
with the blood of lambs and goats,
with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For Jahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7Wild oxen shall fall with them,
and young steers with the mighty bulls.
Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
8For Jahweh has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
9And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.
12Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
and all its princes shall be nothing.
13Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
an abode for ostriches.
14And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles
and finds for herself a resting place.
15There the owl nests and lays and hatches
and gathers her young in her shadow;
indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
each one with her mate.
16Seek and read from the book of Jahweh:
Not one of these shall be missing;
none shall be without her mate.
For the mouth of Jahweh has commanded,
and his Spirit has gathered them.
17He has cast the lot for them;
his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it forever;
from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.[Isaiah 34, adapted from the English Standard Version]
Featured image: Fr.Bessonnet, “Neguev – Monts Edom, En arrière-plan les monts rouges d’Edom,” FlickrCreative Commons.